Attorneys for a Democratic activist told a federal judge Friday that there is a legal and constitutional right for her and others to deliver someone else’s ballot to polling places. And Spencer Scharff asked Judge Douglas Rayes to immediately quash the law and allow what’s known as “ballot harvesting” to once again be legal in time for the Aug. 28 primary. Scharff argued that federal law specifically allows individuals to deliver “mail” — and essentially compete with the U.S. Postal Service — as long as they don’t charge for the service. In these cases, he told Rayes, people like his client, Rivko Knox, who have been collecting early ballots for years, are doing that simply as a service.
The problem, Scharff explained to Rayes, is that the Republican-controlled Legislature voted in 2016 to make the practice a felony. That state law, he said, conflicts with her right under federal law to deliver “mail.”
But Assistant Attorney General Joseph La Rue said that Scharff is misreading the scope of that federal law allowing private mail delivery. He told the judge it simply permits someone to do that without running afoul of federal statutes.